Monthly Archives: November 2014

Day Five – Chur!

It is Keith's job to pack the van.

It is Keith’s job to pack the van. Also, you should check out his blog of this tour as well. We left the Walensee by nine to get to our interview for Country Radio Switzerland.

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We were very early but our hosts Beatrice and David are always great.

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Beer with a pull tab in a bottle?

Beer with a pull tab in a bottle?

The radio station is run out of their house so we just did the show and then had some nice snacks before heading out to Chur for the all important laundry (my job, though this time I had assistance from Emma) and the gig at Werkstatt.

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Chur, as any Swiss person will tell you, is the oldest city in Switzerland. It is also the first place Kevin and I ever played, on our first tour over ten years ago. I was excited for this show but it turned out even better than expected. Our friend Bianca showed up with four of her friends. Beth Wimmer brought another four people. Plus the show was well promoted. It was one of those nights where the first song begins and I immediately start grinning. The energy in the room is pure positivity. Everyone is having fun. The venue is great, sound was excellent, and we played really well, for a very appreciative crowd. The encore included Dead Flowers as well as My Little Runaway. Werkstatt will definitely be one of the high points of this tour.

Setting up

Setting up with Keith and Rob.

It's Emma's last night with the band.

It’s Emma’s last night with the band.

We found this old flyer from our second tour back in 2005!

We found this old flyer from our second tour back in 2005!

The snow arrived while we were playing. I’m glad we got some because Emma left this morning so she got to see some snow covered mountains. It’s been great having her here and I think she enjoyed the trip. Being on tour is not quite the same as being on vacation, but it is still a great time.

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Keith made me pull over on the way to the airport so he could jump into the Walensee. Words cannot describe this. I’ll try to post the video at some point.
Tonight is Sgwolb music club. Go on, try to pronounce that. It’s fun. We will be playing at a farm in a grain cellar (think Johnny’s without the cool decor) that is older than the US constitution. The crowd here will probably be a bit more reserved than in Chur.

Day Four – Obstalden

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The view across the Walensee.

      It can be hard to stay on the ball with these posts. We played our fourth show in Obstalden near the home of Paul Rostetter. We basically had to drive halfway up an alp to get there. Winding two lane roads all the way.
      Musically there have been some good developments. We played Drifter’s Son last night, which was not on the set list originally. We are also playing Broken Heart Tattoo and The Last Goodbye, the very first Kevin Meisel tune I learned. Emma has recorded some of the songs so hopefully at some point there will be YouTube evidence.
    The view from Obstalden is amazing, of course. The weather has been mild. No rain or snow. Tomorrow is a busy day. We have a radio interview and we need to do laundry. Laundry = critical.
Sound check at Hotel Sternen, Obstalden.

Sound check at Hotel Sternen, Obstalden.

Day Three – Hitting Our Stride

After three days on the road we are starting to fall into the familiar routine. Eat, drive, sound check, eat, play, sleep. Beth is from California. In Switzerland the standard breakfast is cheese, bread, and coffee, so it was nice when she made us scrambled eggs. We hit the road around noon, driving from tiny, gorgeous Frumsen to the city of Winterthur. The club we played at is a jazz club called Esse Bar. It’s a beautiful venue, though we were warned by the owner that Monday is “death night”. Apparently that means it’s hard to get a crowd. We actually did pretty well, with the place about 75% full with a very appreciative audience.
As far as the actual show went, I felt like it was our best yet. The playing was solid and confident all around. A high point for me was the first of two encores where we played our version of Del Shannon’s “My Little Runaway.”
We play it slower and way darker. Kevin described it as having a Crazy Horse vibe. I think I agree.
The tour is going well. We’ve gotten lost but not completely. Shows are sounding good and people are showing up. We’re selling CDs. We’re having fun!1103142211

Day two – Beth Wimmer’s house concert

This post is going to be short because I am doing it on my phone. We split from Laupen this morning, dropped by Zurich airport to pick up my partner Emma, who will be traveling with the band for the next few days. We got lost trying to find our show today, but in the process we learned how to use our gps. We played an all acoustic set for about fifteen people in Beth’s living room. It was the definition of intimate. I borrowed her guitar for the show and Rob used just his snare. Hopefully I will get my netbook back in working order so i can write real posts. The drives are beautiful and the people are wonderful. The shows are going well so far!

Swiss gas station food.

Swiss gas station food.

Goats love Emma!

Goats love Emma!

Typical Swiss view. The hotel is on the right.

Typical Swiss view. The hotel is on the right.

Playing at Beth's.

Playing at Beth’s.

Day One – Laupen

Day one of the this tour has come to a close. I am sitting at Hotel Baeren in Laupen. This is a great little place where we always stay when we play at Die Tonne. I’m enjoying a glass of GlenDronach single malt scotch with Keith. Today was very long. We rented the van in Zurich…

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arrived at Brambus Records HQ in Muhlehorn by 9:00 AM…

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enjoyed some coffee and loaded up more gear with Paul Rostetter, label founder, president, and sole employee…

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and then drove out to Laupen where Keith met a cat.

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Although he is quite allergic he will still play with them as though they are his best friends in the world. I should mention that Keith is also blogging this tour at keithmeisel.com.

I had not realized how energetic our sets were. There are a few mellower numbers but we really packed some rockers into our show. The venue was about 3/4 full and we played well. There are a few kinks to work out. I was exhausted (we all were) but as soon as we started I woke up. I love the feeling of playing good songs for an appreciative crowd. Keith, Kevin and Rob are excellent musicians and very fun to play with. Our hosts Anita, Meret, and Yvonne were very helpful and kind, and we sold nine CDs which is good for a small venue. We’re close to Bern tonight but tomorrow we head east to Sennwald for a house concert at the home of Beth Wimmer, an American expat who has been here for years.

I really need sleep.

Up in the Air

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I’m writing this post from somewhere over the Atlantic. We left Detroit this morning on a tiny eighteen seat Beechcraft 1900d (we were informed by the captain, who could not quite stand up fully in the cabin, that the D has a little extra headroom). There were no overhead bins so we had to gate check our guitars. Arriving in Toronto we had a five hour layover during which time I learned the following truths: Keith does not like to lose at cribbage. Toronto airport has the best burgers. Airport Wi-Fi is not all that it is cracked up to be. Kevin does not consider Tim Horton’s coffee to be high quality. I also spent some of my free time making a new handle for my modeler out of duct tape. Never travel without duct tape, kids.

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We boarded this giant Boeing 767-300 at five pm EST and will arrive sometime tomorrow morning (though it might be yesterday by the time this gets posted). High point – we were allowed to carry on our instruments. In Zurich we will pick up our van and drive to Brambus Records headquarters to get our gear and do a telephone interview, and then head out to Laupen. I’m tired and looking forward to the playing music part of this tour.